The Official Description: Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut
Just the facts: Young Adult, beginning of series, superheroes and embracing who you are!
T.J. Klune never disappoints. The Extraodinaries is packed full of love, fun, humor, quirky weirdos and superheros! – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: T.J.Klune has done it again; he’s written yet another book that has found an immediate place on my “shelf of absolute favorites.”
This novel is about teenagers being teenagers; the only difference being they live in a world in which superheroes are a real thing. Nick Bell is a writer of fanfiction that involves superheroes. He’s pretty good at it and has a lot of fans online. His best friend, Seth Grey (bf since they met on the swings) betas the fanfiction for him. Nick’s other besties are a lesbian couple… one butch and defiant, the other sweet and quirky. The characters, as usual, are a cornucopia of diversity and originality. There are no stereotypes in this book.
Nick is still putting the pieces of his life back together at the beginning of this story. His mother was killed in a bank robbery and he and his cop-father have been struggling to work out how they fit together.
Things are complicated for Nick by the fact that he deals with ADHD. Klune does a fantastic job of capturing the thought patterns of someone with disordered thinking. Also, Klune does a wonderful job of ensuring that the characters in the novel pass on the message that a “disorder” is not a bad thing… and can, in fact, be a superpower.
There are a couple of stories going on in the Extraordinaries, There’s a great suspense/ mystery playing out between two superheroes. One is considered to be the hero – the one that Nick is obsessed with: Shadow Star. There’s also an arch-villain named Pyro Storm. But really? Is that how these heroes are categorized or is there more going on behind the scenes?
The secondary story (the main one in my heart) is the fact that Nick is oblivious to the feelings he and his best friend seem to have for one another. It is adorable and infuriating and so realistic it made my brain hurt. Nick and Seth have been best friends for so long that they can’t see to see past that to a place at which they might be able to be “more” to each other.
As always, the characters are everything in this novel. Klune has written some of my very favorite characters in his books. This book is no exception.
Nick’s mind is a beautiful place to be. I loved his POV in this story. His thoughts are chaotic… but it was such a pleasure to read a book that had a character who thought like me. I always feel so “seen” when I read books by T.J. Klune.
There were days when everything felt like it was dialed up to eleven, and he didn’t know how to stop it, no matter how hard he tried. For the most part, he’d accepted that some people were born to be medicated so they didn’t spin out of control. Fair? Not really, but Nick was learning that his brain could do things that others couldn’t. In a way, he had his own superpower, even if it was called a disorder. – Nick, in The Extraordinaries
I absolutely adored the relationship between Nick and his father. They are both struggling with their relationship. After the loss of Nick’s mother, their family has to become something new. Father and son battle, push and pull, make mistakes and give each other grief. It’s a moving and authentic relationship and I loved it.
This book is part mystery, part fumbling love story, and all full of a beautiful message to be who you are. Embrace your differences because they are what makes you extraordinary.
Thank you T.J. Klune.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) violence confrontations, death of a parent (by gunshot), physical injuries, descriptions of anxiety and panic attacks, person kidnapped, a person forced to extreme heights, vomiting.
Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.The
- Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee
- Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon
- Reverie by Ryan La Sala
I received an ARC of The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune from Tor via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.